At his Washington Monthly blog, TDS managing editor Ed Kilgore posts on “The ‘What Then’ Debate.” Kilgore mines some salient insights from President Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville and Bush speechwriter David Frum about what could happen if the SOTU bashes the ACA. First, Carville:
I think this will be the best thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party…Then the Republican Party will own the healthcare system for the foreseeable future. And I really believe that. That is not spin
Frum thinks the GOP may want to chill the celebrations for a bit:
Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.
Kilgore adds that there is not much reason to think that Republicans are prepared to fill the void with credible proposals
Sure, Republicans have their highly misleading pet rock proposals to hold down premiums–interstate insurance sales and “tort reform”–and a shriveled booby prize of an approach to extend health insurance to people who are routinely denied coverage–state-run “high-risk pools” that typically offer crappy coverage at astronomical rates. But all the focus on ObamaCare since 2009 has obscured the fact that most people who are not on Medicare pretty much do hate the health care status quo ante, and will expect both parties to propose new reforms.
In short, what the Supremes are now mulling over is a potential minefield of unintended consequences, some of which could boomerang badly on the GOP.